Apple of Her Eye
A 'My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic' Fanfiction
SWEET APPLE ACRES
ONE WEEK AFTER FOUNTAIN MEMORIAL
Rainbow Dash slowly came to, laying in her bed in the guest room, or rather, her room, in the Apple Family Farmhouse on Sweet Apple Acres.
"Rise an' shine, an' up'n at'em, Rainbow Dash!" Applejack cheerfully said, rousing the groggy former Pegasus.
All she got in return, at first, was an annoyed moan, as Gummy nibbled on her forelocks.
"Who gets up this early...?" she whined.
"Well, if you want to help with chores, this is the time of day that we get started."
With that, Rainbow bolted up in bed, her blankets nearly flying off the bed.
"Really? You mean it? I can finally, finally help?" she said excitedly.
"Yes, Rainbow. You've been quite patient these past few weeks, and I think you've recovered enough to the point where you're ready to learn about Applebuckin'!" Applejack proclaimed.
"Wahoo!" Rainbow leaped up in the air, coming back down on her bed and bouncing off to the floor, screeching to a halt with her face inches from AJ's.
"So where do we start? Huh?"
"Well, first off, you're gonna need this." Applejack said, before plopping a brown cowpony hat down on Rainbow's head, nearly identical to hers.
"Make sure you keep this on your head while you're workin'. Otherwise the sun'll bake you to a crisp and you'll be overheated and worn out before the day's even half over." AJ instructed.
"You got it!"
"And before we get started, I'd say we both need a good breakfast. So come on out to the kitchen, Big Mac's got a hearty start to the day for us!
And indeed he did. Eggs, fresh apples, and orange juice.
"Better eat up, Rainbow. Mah' sis is gonna work you good today."
"Ah don't be like that, Mac. He's just pullin' yer hoof, Rainbow. Listen, if you feel you need to take a break at all today, you just let me know, alright?"
With that, the duo made their way out to the front porch. Rainbow adjusted her hat to block the slowly rising sun, and after AJ had gone and gotten an apple cart, they made their way to the closest apple orchard, whose trees were ripe for the bucking with big, juicy, Red Delicious apples.
"Now, considering you've never done this before, I imagine you think it's as easy as walking up to a tree and giving it a kick. But you have to be careful." AJ instructed, she walked up to the first tree, turned her back, and gave it a solid whack from both back hooves. Apples came falling down from the branches.
"You've gotta set the right distance. If you're too far away, you'll miss, and if you're too close for a full force buck, you might pull a muscle or sprain something."
After they had gathered up the first tree's apples into the cart, they moved on to the next closest one. This time, it was Rainbow's turn.
"Now, don't give it your all the first time. Do it slowly, judge the distance from where your front hooves are and how far stretched you are when your back hooves hit the tree."
Rainbow did as she was told, slowly leaning on her front hooves and stretching back with her rears, making small adjustments, until AJ figured she had it right.
"Alright, now, it doesn't matter how long your hooves are on the tree. Just one good smack should do it. Go on and give it a try."
Rainbow threw her weight onto her front legs, and then shifted, bringing her back hooves down and back, and bucked the trunk of the apple tree, it's branches shuddering in response.
As a few apples fell to the grass, Rainbow was rewarded from her first bucking with an apple to the head. She giggled, thrilled that she had managed to shake some apples loose on her first try. She repeated the kick a few times, and all the apples were down.
"Alright! I did it!" Rainbow joyously announced. AJ chuckled.
"Well, lets see how ya feel after you do a couple dozen of these."
And that's exactly what she did. Twenty apple trees later, the cart AJ was pulling was full.
"Alright, ya feel like pulling that to the apple cellar underneath the barn?"
Rainbow went to the front of the cart and got herself in the harness, already knowing what to do from her time helping Rarity haul gems out of those underground caves, except that this was considerably heavier. But she managed nonetheless. Slowly, she made her way to the apple cellar, which now had two entrances; a set of stairs, and a longer inclined ramp, so the apple cart could now be wheeled down below.
Unsure of her ability to go in forward and keep her self from getting rolled over by the cart, Rainbow positioned herself with the back of the cart at the door, and backed it into the cellar, where there was a small pit dug in the center, with a large wooden basket, where a few cartfuls of apples already were. With the back of the apple cart at the pit, Rainbow got out of the harness, unlocked the back end of the cart, and gave it a tip. The 21 trees worth of apples tumbled out into the basket, and afterward, she righted the cart, and went back for more. Already, she was feeling a bit of the strain.
"Whew, the life of a farm pony." she commented to herself.
And that was the routine for the first half of the day. By 2:00, Rainbow, with a little of AJ's help, took six carts of apples to the cellar, where they waited to be cooked into all manner of treats and sweets and then loaded onto Applejack's apple stand for her market days in Ponyville. On her latest load to the barn, AJ met her outside.
"Alright, Rainbow, I'd say we've earned ourselves a nice meal, wouldn't you say so?"
"You bet. I'm starvin'!"
The two of them went into the farmhouse, and were soon joined by Bic Mac, coming in from plowing, and they began with making lunch. Daffodil and daisy sandwiches, hay fries, apple juice, and apple cobbler for desert. During the meal, Rainbow sat across from AJ, and Big Macintosh and Granny Smith were on the adjacent sides.
Applejack was finished before Rainbow.
"Alright, I'mma pull another apple cart out so you and I can work on separate orchards afterwards. I'll see ya out there." Applejack told her, as the cyan Pegasus was finishing with her cobbler.
"I'd best be back to it too." Big Mac said, swallowing his last bite of dessert, leaving only Rainbow and the elderly Granny Smith at the table.
"Ya look like you got somethin' on yer mind, Sugah" Granny commented.
"Really?" Rainbow asked, slowly nibbling at her cobbler.
"It's rather obvious, what with the way you're lookin' at her."
Rainbow's cheeks turned several shades redder.
"Uh-um, I don't know what you're getting at."
"Honey, I may be old, but ah'm certainly not dim. Now maybe you don't know you're doin' it, but your eyes were locked on her the whole time."
Rainbow Dash gulped, looked like she was about to panic.
"Now now, I don't want you frettin' none. I didn't mean anythin' by it. If you have any feelings for AJ, that's your business. I won't judge you or her for whatever you two feel for each other. You've gotta follow your heart. I've always figured love is a complicated thing."
Rainbow sat there silently, not able to touch the rest of her dessert. There were far too many butterflies in her stomach now.
"She doesn't know." Rainbow began, staring at her plate of crumbs and half-eaten cobbler. "How...how do I tell her? I mean, how I feel?"
"You'll find a way. Don't worry. But when you figure out how to say it, how to tell her, you'd best do so. It's not something you want to keep bottled up inside, hun."
With that, Granny left the table to go take a nap, leaving Rainbow alone at the table, who slowly finished her cobbler.
She was glad that Applejack had started on another orchard by the time she got back outside. She figured that just looking at her right now would turn her into a bumbling mess. For the rest of the day, she couldn't focus her mind or heart on applebucking.
She couldn't, because they were focused on Applejack.
SWEET APPLE ACRES – LAKE
The moonlight glistened off the surface of the lake, distorted by the ripples as Rainbow swam in the cool night. Something had even been added in the past week. A simple dock had been built out close to the center of the lake, so she could do a little diving.
Rainbow was so deep in thought, still confused about her supposed feelings for AJ, that she didn't hear the hoofsteps on the dock.
What she did hear immediately afterward, was an all-too-familiar farm pony yell "Geronimo!" followed by a large splash right next to her, causing her to flutter and sink momentarily, as she regained her composure, and looked over at a laughing Applejack.
"Boy, I tell ya, it's been quite awhile since I've been in this swimmin' hole. It's quite refreshing, I'll give ya that."
Rainbow smiled nervously at her friend.
"Ya did good today, Rainbow! I thought a swim would be nice, and I brought you some apple juice, thought ya might be thirsty." AJ motioned toward the dock, two bottles of apple juice with straws had been set on the edge of the dock.
"Thanks, Applejack. I could use a drink."
She swam over to the dock, climbed up, and sat on the edge, followed immediately by AJ. Together, they sat there on the dock, sipping their apple juice.
"Besides, it looks like you got somethin' on your mind, Sugarcube."
Rainbow laughed at the irony.
"Hahaha, ohhh, I guess that must run in the family."
"What are you talkin' about?"
"It's nothin, really. But yeah, I have had something on my mind."
Rainbow sat silently for a moment, and made up her mind.
"Yeah. I have been thinking. About you. A lot."
"A-about me? How come?"
"I-I can't really explain. It's this feeling deep inside, and I can't deny it. You've done more for me than any other pony ever. You saved my life, you cared for me night and day, and...and I really really appreciate that, Applejack. And I'm trying to figure out a way to show that appreciation."
Applejack could see the flustered feelings Rainbow was having as she stared at her dripping wet friend.
Applejack didn't get to finish her sentence, as Rainbow leaned over, and her lips connected with Applejack's. The moment they touched, she felt as if a surge of warmth surged through her body, moving down her spine to the tips of her hooves and back again. She closed her eyes, while AJ's eyes widened. Time seemed to slow to an inexorable crawl.
The kiss seemed like forever, yet in reality, only lasted two seconds, when Rainbow broke it, and opened her eyes, staring into Applejack's; those beautiful, apple green eyes. When Applejack's shocked expression didn't change in several seconds, Rainbow's expression changed from ecstatic to shocked and ashamed.
"I-I'm so sorry, AJ...I'm-oh!"
Rainbow held back the tears as she got up and galloped back to the farmhouse, leaving a stunned Applejack alone on the dock.
10 MINUTES LATER
Rainbow paced uneasily in the foyer of the farmhouse, tears running down her cheeks.
'What was I thinking? Acting that fast...? When I don't even know if Applejack shares these feelings! What if...what if I just blew it? If she can't look at me aga-'
Rainbow's panicked thoughts were interrupted by the front door opening, and Applejack came in.
"I'm so sorry. I-I wasn't thinking."
"I just...I like you a lot. I...I love you, AJ. I-"
Applejack came up and placed the tip of her hoof on Rainbow's lips, silencing the jibbering Pegasus. They stared into each other's eyes, and AJ smiled at her friend.
"Now, I will admit. You caught me a bit by surprise there, Sugar. Maybe if you had let me know about these feelings earlier, it wouldn't have shocked me all that much."
Rainbow said nothing, tears still in her eyes.
"Now, that being said..." Applejack said, before coming in close and kissing Rainbow again. They gently probed each others mouths for those few precious seconds as the warmth wrapped around them. To Rainbow, it tasted like the sweetest, most succulent apple she had ever had. To Applejack, it was every sweet and tangy fruit she had ever tasted.
Again, slightly longer than last time, the kiss broke, leaving Rainbow as the surprised pony this time.
"Let's see where this goes, alright, Sugarcube?"
Rainbow, fighting through her daze and ecstasy, slowly nodded.
"Where do we go from here?" Rainbow asked, wiping the tears from her eyes.
Applejack came forward, and gently pressed her forehead to Rainbow's.
"Stay with me tonight." she whispered.
Rainbow's heart skipped a beat, and then regained her composure once again, and nodded.
Together, the two best friends walked side-by-side, melting into each other, and retired to AJ's room for the night, to see if that friendship could evolve into something more.
Well, that's all I have for now, folks. Lately, I've been taking less time writing my own fics and have been reading the tales of other Bronies. But if any of you, like Ace and alek, have any ideas that you'd either like to share with me for me to expand this storyline, or would like to add something of your own to this alternate ending of mine, please, feel free. So far, I am flattered by what has been added to my work.
I certainly hope I can find more inspiration. If nothing comes in the next few months or from another fic, I certainly hope something clicks in Season 2. Again, thank you so much for reading.